by Mike Benson
Bad news travels fast–especially in religious circles. The latest fatality is Dr. Jack Schaaps, “pastor” of the 15,000 member First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. Schaaps is 54, married with two children, and has served with the congregation for about eleven years.
He’s also been involved in an illicit relationship with a 16-year-old female church member.
According to news reports, a deacon noticed a text message on Schaap’s cell phone. The image showed preacher and girl engaged in a kiss. When confronted by his church board, Schaaps admitted to having an affair with the youth.
From a legal standpoint, the preacher is not in trouble because the legal age of consent for sexual activity in Indiana is 16. But from a professional, marital, and moral standpoint, Schaaps is in all kinds of hot water.
But here’s the kicker. Jack Schaaps is a Calvinist. Let that marinade around your brain stem for just a moment.
One of the petals of Calvinism (e.g., TULIP) is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints–what is popularly known as “once-saved, always-saved.” The idea is that once God has saved you, there is absolutely nothing you can do to be lost. Period. Dot. End of sentence.
However popular the doctrine may be within the religious world today, it is simply not in harmony with the teaching of Scripture. In reality, there are over 2,500 places in the Bible that teach a child of God can sin and be lost. Here’s a brief sampling from the New Testament:
- In the Parable of the Talents, the servant who buried his one talent was cast into outer darkness (Matthew 25:14-30).
- In the Parable of the Soils, some who become children of God have their faith choked by thorns (Mark 4:14-20).
- Some believe for a time, but, fall away because they succumb to temptation (Luke 8:13).
- Jesus is the vine and Christians are the branches. A branch that does not bear fruit is cut off and burned.
- Judas fell (Acts 1:25).
- Ananias and Sapphira were Christians who died in their sins (Acts 5:1-11).
- Simon was in danger of losing his soul (Acts 8:20-22).
- If a child of God lives according to the flesh, he will die spiritually (Romans 8:12-13).
- The brother in the church at Corinth who had his father’s wife was in a lost condition until he repented (1 Corinthians 5:1-3, 5; 2 Corinthians 2:3-11; Revelation 21:27).
- A weak brother can perish (1 Corinthians 8:11).
- Even Paul could have been castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).
- The Israelites fell and were lost (1 Corinthians 10:1-12).
- Some Christians in Galatia had already fallen because they had turned back to elements of the old law (Galatians 5:2-4).
- See also 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Ezekiel 3:20; 18:21-25.
The episode in Dr. Schaap’s life is heart-breaking. He has sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. His influence has been destroyed, his marriage has been damaged, and our society continues its downward spiral into the moral abyss.
But perhaps what wrenches my heart most of all is that many, like Dr. Schaaps, do not choose to see in the Word what is clearly illustrated in his life.
How can a person claim to be saved in Christ when his life and teaching are obviously not Christ-like?